The Ring

My wrist is broken.  It has its own pulse, pain that radiates through my entire arm.  My fingers are tingling.  I’m deeply surprised I haven’t passed out.  Unconsciousness would be a welcome friend.

I rest my forehead on the glass, the streams of rain outside beating against the bus window.  Tears well up in my eyes, and I clutch my wrist to my chest.  The bones grind together with every bump the bus goes over.  I bite the inside of my cheek and draw blood, but it doesn’t matter.  My hair forms a stringy wet curtain between me and the rest of the passengers.  All two of them.  

My cell phone vibrates in my lap.  I lift my head and stare at the screen.  

Rae??  Where are you?  I’m at your place.  

My sister.  Oh god.  My sister.  What was I supposed to say to her?

I’m running.  I know that what happened is my fault, so I’m leaving.  Nobody had to tell me to do it; I left all on my own.  I don’t need anyone to tell me what I already know.  I picked the last destination on the cross-state bus list.  I don’t remember what it was now.  I don’t remember where the ticket leads.  But I know that I am going.  Screw the world.  Screw all of the people who didn’t listen to me, who didn’t hear me.  Who never saw me or my pain.  They will never see me now.

I swing around so that my head lolls on the headrest rather than against the window.  There is a ring where my breath fogged up the glass.  I close my eyes.  My wrist sits much softer against my chest.  I can still feel his fingers closed around it, cutting off my circulation.  My breathing is jagged.  When I try to swipe at the tears littering my cheeks, more take their place.

This can’t be happening.  He swore it would be different.  He swore that he was different.

I didn’t bring much, only the clothes I was wearing.  And my phone.  And for some reason, a book.  That was the last thing I grabbed on my way out the door.  For Worse Never Better by Penelope van Buskirk.  My sister had given it to me, weeks before.  She had known, even when I wouldn’t admit it.  Even when I couldn’t.

It was too late now.

I don’t know how it happened.  I don’t remember much apart from the pain.  I remember the sound my wrist made when the bones snapped, how he refused to let go and everything ground together.  How I saw red so vibrant that there were literal stars in my eyes.  The taste of blood in my mouth as I cowered on the floor.  I remember the feelings, but not the details.

My ring is in the pocket of my pants.  I slipped it off as I stumbled through the rain to the bus stop.  The marriage is definitely over.  I imagine the secret, the memory, it contains is burning a hole through to my skin, growing hotter and hotter and…

My phone goes off again.  

What the hell happened?  The cops are everywhere.

It’s pouring.  I believe that the rain is angels crying.  

He’s dead.


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